Healthy grilling /BBQ ideas with Indian dishes

Memorial day is a federal holiday observed in the United States on the last Monday of May month. It become an official holiday in 1971. The day marks the remembering of men and women who have died while serving the United states armed forces.  Memorial day was officially proclaimed on 5th May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the republic and for the first time it was observed on 30th May 1868. New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1873.Decoration day was the original name to this day and it originated in the years following the Civil War. Many Americans observe this day by visiting cemeteries and participating in parades. Every city/town across United States hold parades, including military personnel and war veterans. But over the years since the Congress made it a three day long weekend holiday, the actual spirit of celebrating the day has diluted. Since it marks the start of summer season, many throw parties and barbecues on this day.


My in laws are here with this and we had made plans for every weekend for the next few months. San Francisco area has been bit cold over the weekends which is quite uncommon for this time period. Hence we cancelled our plan and decided to stay at home, watch some movies and do some grilling. When the summer comes, we barbecue atleast twice or thrice in a week. For today’s meal, we marinated the chicken and fish in an aromatic spice blend that had chili powder, garam masala and tamarind paste.  I love grilling for the fact that the entire cooking uses very little oil and on this day, we get to eat lot of veggies and fruits. Gladly when we were ready grill, the sun that was hiding behind the clouds popped out and  made my patio warm and bright.
I love the day when we grill as I need to do minimal work and my husband takes over the cook role. I call him a grilling pro. Here are few tips to get the grilling go right (in his words).
1.  Buy a good quality cooking spray. Apply a light coat of cooking oil prior to lighting the grill. You need to spray the oil before you switch on the grill. Please don’t spray it on a hot grill as the oil can cause flame ups and severe ones can cause injury too.
2. We bought a webber gas grill last summer and I would recommend gas grill over charcoal ones and also webber will be my choice of grill anyday. I am in love with my three burner webber gas grill and I am so glad that I invested on a long lasting one.
3. Most gas grills have an igniter switch for lighting the burners. First turn on the gas at the tank, then turn one burner valve on and push the igniter button to light it. Since today we grilled chicken, fish and corn at the same time, the temperature has to be maintained high.
4. Before placing the food, switch on three burners and close the lid and let the temperature rice gradually to 500F. Once it has reached the desired temperature, switch off 1 or 2 burners (its your choice).
5. Using a kitchen tissue/ hand towel dipped in little oil, I rub the hot crates with it. Then place my meat, corn and fish and cook them for 8 minutes without any disturbance. Constant opening of the lid we change the cooking temperature. So try not to open the lid often. Play around with the burners if the temperature goes high or low.
6. Once done on one side, flip it over and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until done. You want the meat to be tender and juicy.
7. After cooking, turn of the burners and gas tank. Clean using lemon wedges before you wrap the grill. Maintaining a clean grill is key for long lasting grill.
8. Marinate the meat/seafood a day ahead for better taste. I prefer marinades to have a thick consistency, so I use minimum amount of water.
9. For regular users, I would recommend investing on a sturdy BBQ tool kit and also on few accessories like fish basket grill, meat thermometer, basting brush.

This month’s theme for World on a plate is grilling ideasand I am sharing the recipe for healthy grilling. Today we grilled skinless chicken thighs, mackerel, corn and pineapple.  To wash them down my husband enjoyed a bottle of Korean beer and we stuck with organic carrot juice.


Recipe: My husband
Serves: 4 ( 2 thighs each)

8 chicken thighs – Skinless and cleaned
1 egg
For the marinade
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paster
2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt to taste, about 1 tablespoon
Little water to mix
1. Mix the ingredients under the marinade section and set aside.
2. Beat one egg and mix with the marinade.
3. Using a paring knife, make small incisions on the chicken. Using hand massage the marinade over the chicken thighs.
4. Cover the container and let it refrigerate for 6-8 hours or overnight.
5. Before you begin to grill, bring the chicken back to room temperature.
6. Pre-heat the grill and once the temperature reaches 500F, place the chicken and cook covered for 8-10 minutes on each side. Check for doneness before you serve.
7. Serve hot with onion slices and mint chutney.

Recipe: Self
Serves: 4 (2 each)

8 whole mackerel – cleaned, pat dried

For the marinade
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon chili powder + more if you like it spicy
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 tablespoon tamarind pulp
Salt to taste
1/4 water if needed
1. Mix the ingredients under marinade section and set aside. Add water if needed to get the desired consistency.
2. Rub them inside and outside of the fish and let it rest in the refridgerator for 6-8 hours / overnight.
3. Pre-heat the grill to 450 F and cook the fish using a basket grill. This prevents fish from breaking up. Cook 8 minutes on each side.
4. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

My mother-in-law is rubbing the spices over the corn before it hits the grill.

Source: Self
Serves: 4 (1 corn each)

4 large sweet corn – cleaned, pat dried.
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon coriander powder
Salt to taste
1 half of a lemon

1. In a bowl, add the butter stored at room temperature. Mix in chilli, coriander powder and salt and squeeze little lemon juice.
2. Using the head of the lemon, massage the butter mixture over the corn and cook them for 6-8 minutes on each side. Before you serve, rub the roasted corn with the lemon head to add more zestfulness to it.

Additional notes:
1. Since we have grilled the fish with minimum oil, they are an ideal side for South beach diet phase 1.
2. Grilled chicken used here was made with chicken thighs which can be eaten in Phase 2 and 3 of South beach diet. You can follow the same recipe and cook with chickn breast and that is allowed in phase 1.
3. Grilled fish, chicken and corn are perfect while on a weightloss journey.

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  1. The mackerel recipe sounds like a keeper! Perfect time to host the bloghop! Hope you have a great weekend! 🙂

  2. Wow VJ even ur husband rock, beautiful and super tempting BBQ dishes..Seems you had a fantastic weekend with ur in laws.

  3. Love these Indian spices! I am sure they make the fish and the corn special!

  4. You have outdone your self this sound amazing. I am a huge mackerel fan but i never buy it…don't know why!

  5. Indian spices are so unique and full of flavors. The fish must have tasted heavenly!

  6. Hi Vijitha. Thanks for accepting my Facebook request and visiting my blog. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised you're part of the World on a Plate circle – Biren and Hyosun are buddies and it's a real pleasure to meet you!

    I love the flavours you used on the mackerel, which is a wonderful fish for grilling. It looks so appetising!

    Thanks for your support and participation in my cookbook giveaway. Best of luck and wishing you will be one of the winners! Oh and hope you had a great Memorial Day too 🙂

  7. The grilled mackerel looks awesome…I need to try this….I love mackerel, but when you cook fresh mackerel at home it smells so much that I have had to stop making it….grilling it outdoors is the perfect solution 🙂

  8. I just love the look of those mackerel – so delicious… and the corn too – chilli and coriander powder… I can imagine the delicious flavour. Usually I am very boring with my corn – time to spice it up a bit for a change I think! 🙂

  9. Oh wow, this all looks so good!!! And that's quite an impressive grill tool kit 🙂 Love your grill tips, and all the Indian spices. I can't wait to try!

  10. I m so digging all your posts Vij! Loved all the information & the insight into whole grains & natural sweeteners. Those grilled mackerels look mouthwatering!

  11. I can't wait until I try all these Indian flavors in my grilling. Looks and sounds delicious!

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